After putting together a 40-point lead over main rival Tim Gajser in the MXGP Championship Points standings in the first five rounds, the Grand Prix of Portugal and the Grand Prix of France saw his lead drop down to just 10 points.
In France just over a week ago, Cairoli had a tough time, going 2-17 for seventh overall despite crashing on a couple of occasions.
As always Cairoli looks on the positive side and will head to Russia this week with the goal of once again winning.
“It was not the best day,” Cairoli said. “We take positives and that is some points. It felt like the whole weekend was a struggle right from that crash on the first corners of the Qualification Heat and getting run over by some riders. My ankle is not perfect it was pretty sore; this track is very slick, and it is easy to put your foot on the ground.
“From 14th place I chose a good gate in the first moto but not in the second. I tried to come back fast through the group, and it was going well actually but I crashed again while 11th and got hit again. I restarted and tried to get as many points as I could.
“We are looking for the next race now. We need to keep focussed. This was not the best race of the season, but we learn from the mistakes – I’m still learning at almost 34 years old – and I will try to be on the podium again at the next race.”
The previous week around the red clay circuit of Agueda, the Italian finished with 2-2 scores, but once again had to yield to the younger, faster Gajser. Despite the loss, Cairoli knows that there will be many chances to get the better of Gajser.
“On one side, I’m happy because the goal is to always be on the podium but in another way, I’m disappointed. In the first moto, I made a silly mistake and I stalled the bike, but I could get back to Tim. In the second, I was swapping lines. Where I crashed was a lottery, there was a lot of mud and I chose another line at the last moment and there was a rock that twisted my front end. I’m happy I didn’t hurt myself.”
Now onto Russia in a week, and the chance to return from back to back losses and try and figure out how to lead Gajser to the finish line. Russia is a circuit that should suit both, and for sure Cairoli will be wanting to pick up GP win number 90.
Words by Geoff Meyer
Photo courtesy KTM Europe
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